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Is Matchmaking Medical?

Kiss cam

Kissing is a big part of every relationship. But have you ever wondered how a good smooch stimulates the brain? Find out right here!

Have you ever looked back on a bad relationship and wondered why you got into it in the first place? The reason might just be scientific.


Professional matchmaker Patti Stanger of Bravo TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker explains that the hormone oxytocin causes the initial attraction. Oxytocin is fueled by estrogen and is best known for its role in female reproduction, but it also influences trust and bonding feelings in people. “The younger you are, the first orgasm he gives you, the more you’re going to have this connection,” she says. “I call it catnip sex, basically. If that hormone is giving you that feel-good principle, you’re going to stay whether he’s good or bad.”

“I think we’re saying that oxytocin is a love potion,” Dr. Ordon says.


While the initial feeling of attachment wears off quickly for some people, for others realizing they are in a bad relationship takes much loinger. “I’ve seen people bonded up to three or four years with somebody,” Patti says. “I have been that person, personally, myself. If you’re in your 20s and early 30s, it can really surge.”


Patti explains that there are ways to fight the feelings of attachment and get out of a bad relationship. “You have to leave, you have to delete the number out of the e-mail, the machine, the cell phone,” she says.


To avoid a bad partnership in the first place, Patti says getting to know each other first is important. “I try to teach the men that it’s not so good to have sex right away,” she says. “And I try to teach the women to really qualify the buyer. Basically, if we take our time during courtship, and we get to know someone’s habits and manners, we’ll make better decisions going forward. Take your time; there’s no race here.”


Need sleep?

Getting the right amount of sleep can stave off restless leg syndrome. See if you and your family are getting enough shut eye.

• Age 2: 12 hours per night

Age 5: 11 hours

Age 10: 10 hours

Teens: 9 hours

Adults: 7-8 hours

Restless Legs
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a frustrating problem that can cause sleepless nights. It is a sensory disorder that causes an almost irresistible urge to move the legs. This urge to move is usually due to unpleasant feelings in the legs that occur when at rest. Some describe the feelings as creeping, crawling, tingling and burning sensations.

RLS research focuses mostly on adults, but symptoms often begin during childhood or adolescence. Eleven-year-old Kenny from
Los Angeles is among the estimated 1.5 million children in the United States that suffers from RLS.

“It’s almost impossible to sleep because you keep moving around,” Dr. Jim says. “Why does this happen? Sometimes it’s actually due to poor sleep. In many kids it may be from caffeine, too, and those may feed off each other. Sometimes it’s lower iron.

“Kenny’s 11 years old, and at that age you should be getting about 10 hours of sleep a night, so maybe Kenny needs a little more sleep,” Dr. Jim adds. “Iron supplements, especially if the doctor finds anemia. Sometimes prescription medications are used kind of as a last resort.”

Hair in the Wrong Places

Lucy from
Frisco, Colorado says she has recently started growing hair between her breasts and is embarrassed to take her clothes off in front of her boyfriend. It is affecting her sex life, and she asks The Doctors how she can fix this problem. “This is obviously a problem women don’t want to acknowledge they have, but hair grows in places you don’t want it to,” Dr. Travis says.

Lucy’s condition is called hirsutism, which is when unwanted, male-pattern hair growth occurs in women. “On the face, on the chest and on the back, where men typically have hair formation,” Dr. Ordon says. “This is coarse hair, caused by an overproduction of male hormones -- androgens, testosterone -- that are causing you to grow hair.”

Laser therapy is available to eliminate unwanted hair. First, the hair is shaved. Avoid waxing, because doing so can affect the skin, causing irritation. Using the Soprano Laser, which targets the pigments in the hair follicles, a doctor will treat the affected area. And after several painless treatments, the hair will be permanently gone.

“No pain, no hair!” Dr. Ordon says.

Broken-Heart Syndrome

If you have ever felt heartbreak over losing a loved one, you know it can be a painful experience. But can it actually kill you?


Studies by researchers at JohnsHopkinsUniversity suggest that a broken heart can trigger heart failure. The sudden, overwhelming stress can cause large amounts of the hormone catecholamine to be released, which can be toxic to the heart.

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“Since the early ‘90s, when the first descriptions were coming from Japan, people took notice,” says cardiac surgeon Dr. Greg Fontana. “Physicians almost all had some anecdotal experience of a patient or someone in their world have an absolutely catastrophic response to what is usually a death of a spouse or a child. But until recently, we really had no idea if this was real, and the study from Johns Hopkins has really illuminated this for us, and it really is a syndrome. It’s been documented, and we’re learning more and more about this now that people acknowledge its existence.”


While broken-heart syndrome can mimic a heart attack, they are not the same. A heart attack is brought on by blockage in the arteries, while broken-heart syndrome causes the heart to temporarily enlarge. If the heartbroken patient has enough support from people around him or her, he or she can get over the syndrome and recover within a few weeks, Dr. Fontana says.


“I believe this,” Dr. Jim says. “I’ve had my heart broken. I mean, who hasn’t? You feel that adrenaline surging, and the stress hormones. Your chest literally aches, so I can see how this can happen.”

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OAD 4/17/09